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Janel: Hey from the 308

Hey from the 308–but not for long. It’s nearly time to cut wheat. My name is Janel Schemper. I am a third-generation custom harvester from Holdrege, Nebraska. I’ve been a harvester forever and my combine career keeps me very busy. I am a combine operator, truck driver, and I hire our employees. Every May our harvesting crew goes south for wheat harvest. We start in southwest Oklahoma and cut in seven states while working our way north following the wheat harvest. Our crews end up in Montana and North Dakota. We typically finish up wheat harvest in September and then it’s back to Kansas and Nebraska for fall harvest where we harvest corn, soybeans, and other crops until about Thanksgiving time. My harvest season usually lasts around 180 days.

During the harvest off-season I haul grain locally. I just witnessed the most unusual off-season ever. I always look forward to my Nebraska winters and that typically includes snow and snowed-in days. Not this year. I drove truck for 22 consecutive weeks and I kept my truck very clean because we had next to nothing for moisture. It’s been an odd sight this spring to see pivots running without a crop in the ground. Luckily, we’ve finally had some rain recently. LaVern, Lonny, and I haul grain consistently while JC and Jared haul grain as well but they also have lowboy trailers and stay even busier hauling equipment too.

Our biggest challenge this year has been getting our new combines out of the factory. We were expecting to travel to the John Deere combine factory in March to pick up new combines but March came and went and no new combines were available yet. We finally got one on April 26, another on May 4 and then a couple more the week of May 9. Jared has made all the trips to East Moline, Illinois, to pick up the new combines. It’s time to leave for wheat harvest and we’re still waiting on a few more new combines to arrive as well as MacDon headers.

I hauled my new s780 John Deere combine and FD240 MacDon header south on May 14. I had a tail wind the whole trip, which was great for my fuel mileage. The wheat across Kansas looks alright and the wheat across Oklahoma is not as great due to severe drought conditions. The wheat in southwest Oklahoma looks better than I thought it would and we’ll soon find out the yields. I estimate harvest will start around May 20. The forecast is very hot and dry and we’ll be busy cutting wheat very soon.

I’ve been harvesting forever and it’s what I know and love. I enjoy being involved in a family business. I rode in trucks and combines constantly as a young kid and was running combine full-time during the summer months by age thirteen. I attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney to earn my bachelor’s in business administration and marketing and Kansas State University for my master’s in agribusiness. The interesting thing though about being a college graduate is that I feel like I attend the school of hard knocks daily. It’s an adventure out here in the world of agribusiness and no two years are just alike. Currently, I’m not at all impressed with politics or the fuel price. I’ll try my best to keep rolling along and harvesting the grain that feeds the world. I hope we have plenty of acres to cut and great harvesting conditions. If you need grain harvested I can be reached via email, Facebook, Instagram and www.SchemperHarvesting.com. Best of luck to all farmers and harvesters. Please be safe.

Janel can be reached at janel@allaboardharvest.com.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by ITC Holdings, CASE IH, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, US Custom Harvesters Inc., Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc., Lumivia CPL by Corteva Agriscience, Kramer Seed Farms, and High Plains Journal.


Schemper Harvesting trucks. April 2022.

I’m looking forward to meals in the field. July 2021.

I was unloading corn in Kansas May 13th.

Here I was unloading corn in north central Kansas on May 13.  

This is my Peterbilt truck and Wilson grain trailer. February 2022.

I love the smell of a new combine cab and leather seats.

I was waiting on a truck and combine trailer so I could load up the combine and get it ready to go south for wheat harvest. Photo by Carlene Schemper.

On the road again. This is the combine and header I hauled south on May 14. Here I was parked on the Kansas-Oklahoma state line. I checked chains, tires, and straps and away we went.

I unloaded the combine in southwest Oklahoma on May 14 and then drove my Peterbilt truck 480 miles back home.

This new s770 combine arrived May 4 without new tires. There is a tire shortage going on, too. 

I was getting a load of soybeans in north central Kansas. This is one of the tightest elevators I’ve been in and the clearance is only 11 feet 7 inches.

On a scale getting weighed in.  

This combine is nearly ready to go to harvest. 

Here we were getting loaded with corn out of a bag. I love getting to use a tractor and grain cart because it’s much quicker and easier to get loaded. March 2022.

Jared was getting a load of corn and I was next in line. February 2022.

This is what I call the truckers special. It’s where I load my own truck and haul the corn to a feedlot. March 2022.

JC hauled a Fendt combine then everyone was asking if we were taking it on harvest. The answer was no but I’d like to demo one sometime. 

This is my 13-year-old Miss Maggie Moo. She is a house dog now. She used to go with me everywhere. Her walking isn’t too good due to arthritis and some other issues. She isn’t well enough to go harvesting so she’ll be staying home in the air conditioned house. I’m going to be missing her terribly.

I always have to be on my best behavior. Miss Maggie Moo is the boss lady and is super protective of me. She is the best dog ever.

This Shelbourne Reynolds stripper header has all new teeth now courtesy of Lonny, Jared and me. April 2022.

This combine arrived April 26. Jared went to the factory in East Moline, Illinois. He brought home the new combine and tires.

Unloading the combine right away April 26.

Unloading the new s770 John Deere combine at our shop yard on April 26.


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